Friday, November 25, 2011

Wholphin No. 10

Edited by Brent Hoff

This issue of Wholphinhas a number of excellent short films, with a bit more of a Hollywood presence than I'm used to.

First though, it opens with a condensation of the best documentary I've seen in ages, Audience Of One.  In it, the filmmaker travels with a church group who are working to produce a massive-budget Biblical science fiction epic that tells the story of Joseph, despite the fact that no one in their group has experience making movies, and they don't have the money they need.  Why are they doing this?  God told their pastor to.  Upon watching this shorter version, I immediately ordered the full-length film, and it is currently making the rounds of all of my friends.  It's brilliant.

Among the short films on this disc, three stand out.  'I Love Sarah Jane' is a zombie short featuring some Australian teenagers who have lost their families.  What makes this work so well is the performances of the two leads - Brad Ashby and Mia Wasikowska (of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland fame).  Jimbo, the young boy, is so in love with Sarah Jane that the entire zombie thing doesn't even bother him.  It's a very good film.

'Teleglobal Dreamin'' is an interesting short about a man who has gone to the Philippines to train call centre employees.  One of the women who work at the place take him out on the town, and starts to spread the rumor that he is actually the American actor Brandon Fraser.  This leads to scenes of him getting mobbed for autographs, and even abducted.  It's a funny film, and very well acted.

The third of the Hollywood-connected films is Natalie Portman's authorial and screenwriting debut, 'Eve'.  This is an excellent study of aging, as a young woman spends the night at her grandmother's, and gets taken along on her date with a recently available widower.  It's funny, touching, and in the way it dances around the subject of the girl's mother, shows that there is much more going on under the surface than the viewer is aware of.

Also of note on this disc is Jonathan Demme's biography 'Joe and Linda Flooded Out of Holy Cross.'  Joe and Linda are older residents of New Orleans, and they have both reacted to the events of Hurricane Katrina very differently.  Linda just wants to clean up their house (clearly the two are hoarders to some degree), while Joe is not able to move on from the topic of the city, what happened during the storm, and how things are now (at the time of filming).  He's a broken, angry man, and watching him sound off on the topic for twenty minutes is heart-breaking.

Also included here is 'He Was Once', a film that equally disturbed and annoyed me.  If you hated the old Davey and Goliath Christian propaganda cartoons (and who doesn't), you may be interested in this, but I found it unwatchable.

The DVD menu films include 'Hunt and Gather', in which a man rides around on a bicycle modified to carry a ladder, which he uses to climb up to power wires festooned with tied sneakers.  He then shoots down the sneakers, and replaces them with the ones he is wearing.  It's funny the first couple of times, but it gets old.

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